Army camp attacked in South Waziristan
By Iqbal Khattak
PESHAWAR: A Pakistan Army camp in the Shakai region of South Waziristan Agency was attacked late on Tuesday night but an ‘immediate response’ from the soldiers repulsed the attack, a military spokesman said on Wednesday.
Army spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan told Daily Times by phone from Islamabad that rockets and mortars were fired at the Army’s Zahawara Camp in Shakai, which was set up after the June 11 operation. “We responded immediately and there were no casualties on our side.”
The attack happened two days after four major tribes in Shakai signed an agreement with the government on July 5 to join hands against foreigners, linked to Al Qaeda, and protect government employees and troops.
Mr Sultan said he had no reports of casualties on the attackers’ side. The camp was attacked around 9pm and artillery kept pounding suspected targets till mid-day on Wednesday from Zairnoor military base near Wana, a tribal source in Wana said.
The spokesman however denied that Tiarzah Fort was also attacked. The source told Daily Times by phone from Wana that an unknown number of rockets and missiles were fired at the British-built fort. On June 9, the fort was attacked and a number of soldiers, both from the Frontier Costabulary and the Army, were killed triggering a military operation that lasted for five days in Shakai where the air force was also used for the first time.
Meanwhile, the tribal Lashkar served notices on the Kakakhel and Karmazkhel sub-tribes to hand over Maulvi Abbas and Muhammad Javed by 8am on Thursday (today) otherwise their houses would be demolished.
“They (the two tribes) say that the matter will be settled with the demolition of their houses. If it does not happen, what is the point of doing this,” a tribal elder quoted tribal elders as telling the Lashkar commanders.
“We would not like the Lashkars to clash with the two tribes and we ask the political administration to do what it deems necessary against the two tribes. We do not have an answer to the two tribes’ question,” the tribal elder said.
The government set a July 10 deadline for the surrender of the two wanted men, members of a group which allegedly killed Nek Muhammad and was sheltering foreigners, mostly Chechens, Uzbeks, Tajiks and some Arabs, hiding in Waziristan after the US-led bombings flushed out the Taliban in October 2001.
Agencies add: Militants and Pakistani forces traded fire near the Afghan border, ending a two-week lull since a major counterterrorism operation in the region last month, officials said. There were no casualties in the clashes during which the militants fired mortar rounds and rockets at a military camp in the Shakai Valley in South Waziristan, the officials added.
The skirmishes started on Wednesday morning when militants targeted two Army checkpoints near Shakai, where a military operation last month against Al Qaeda suspects left 100 people dead, including 30 local tribesmen.
Malik Salahuddin, a tribal elder in Shakai, told reporters by phone that the troops were using artillery and other weapons against the suspected terrorists outside the village.
Rumours of gunning down a military chopper also circulated in the area. Military officials claimed heavy causalities of tribesmen as they targeted four-sub tribes of Ahmadzai Wazir including Sadyagai, Sparekai, Khonikhel and Ozalkhel.
A jirga of the Ahmadzai Wazir tribe consisting of over 150 members left for Peshawar on Wednesday to meet the NWFP governor.